Build your own house

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We've been here for a while now and are toying with the idea of buying our own place. We were also wondering if having a house built would be worthwhile.

 

Has anyone else done this? Is it something you'd suggest avoiding? Did you actually save any money or was it just the fact that you got the house you really wanted.

 

(Some of our German friends have had some bad experiences, usually down to the builder using the wrong materials, forgetting to put the windows in, that sort of thing. So I understand it's not going to be a soft option. )

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Jeez, that link brings back memories, some good, some bad. There's various ones in my family and I did a kind of half-measures version (buying an apartment unbuilt from a developer).

 

The thing is, there will always be "war stories" and horrors. It's such a complex project at high cost and big risk that it'd be impossible not to have some. However, all in my family have been delivered, to budget and just about on time. (The "horror stories" often translate into something more like "the money ran out, that's why we've got no windows" or skimping on employing decent labour).

 

The key I'd say is not to stint on the professionals. We are not developers / architects / builders (although quite a lot of us can handles the aspects like project management and finances). We need to employ people who are (as per than link).

 

As to finances / money, we'll I'd say it's case-by-case. I'd presume that building in sought-after areas is the obviously the better bet (such as that Munich example, and certainly that applies to all my family cases). The equation is different if it's land nobody else wants (in a place nobody will later want to buy your house in). For developed apartments, the maths is different but one thing is sure - it'd cost you more just a few years later (I'd pay 15% more just three years on).

 

In the end, I find it fantastic that we live in places we designed for ourselves, as we want, with all mod cons an energy efficient, in the area that we choose. However, it did not come for free. It takes a lot of time out of our lives (where I often thought "why didn't I just bother with second hand").

 

You starting point I think is to do some good hard realistic planning and budgeting.

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My father built us several houses over the years and it was extremely lucrative in the end, but it relies on the market being good enough to sell quickly when you're finished, and at a profit. I don't know what it's like to do in Germany, but in the UK he started out the first time using a construction company who project managed the build, which obviously cost more and then over the years he did more and more himself. The difference between it being a success and a crashing failure is realistic budgeting and effective project management. Maybe the first time hire an architect to project manage for you

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My husband learned the most important aspects of building house by helping his elder brothers from 16 yrs. Afterwards he started to build his own house from 30 yrs to 35 yrs old, which one we are living now. Later he inherited his mother’s old farm house, and now he start to reconstruct that house, which one we are going to live in the future. So, all in all, he had almost 3 houses building experiences. He told me, if someone plan to build house by their own, the following issues they should consider in advance.

1. Direct knowledge from friends or relatives. They must had experiences, had built houses before and willing to help when you need.

2. Friends or relatives, who are building house now or maintain a building house business and willing to lend the necessary machines when you need.

3. Time. If you have a full time work, be prepared to invest all weekend and holiday in forthcoming several years (2 or 3 at least, usually will be longer when you are a newbie), especially between April and December, when will be convenient for both indoor and outdoor works.

4. Family support. Compare with the married people with children, family without kids would have much more time for building house. And your wife should not only understand your hard housework, but also offer various help when you need.

5. Good connection in neighborhood. You can build house all by your own, in some stages; you definitely need helping hands from others. I had heard, in the nice neighborhood, sometimes neighbors will voluntarily offer their help when they see you are working on the roof, and that is the rare case, most of time, you need to temporally hire skillful people rather than any schwarze Arbeiter.

6. Indirect knowledge from books and magazine. Nobody can tell you all, what to do, how to plan. Go to the nearest Bauhause, you can find various books and magazine, what teach you in specific area, such as Verputzen, Trockenausbau….etc.

 

Finally, something you should bear in mind as well, your house design will not be totally free, how high, where to set the window and wall between neighbors’ house, color and all the details you have to declare in advance to the relevant local office. And don’t be surprise if you receive some letters from any office to ask you how many hours you hired somebody to help you in the last year. Any number you write will become a bill afterwards. My suggestion is, find a friend of you, who had already gone through the similar issue and start a nice talk with him. Good luck.

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Thanks everyone. This is something that I definately want to do ... but having read your responses and the build diary ... I think now is not the time. Being realistic, we have two small kids, one who's just starting school and a number of other stresses. I don't think we would be saving any money, so we would *really* need to be sure that this is the path to follow. Also, one thing that did come up, as always, was location. It's not just how easy it would be to sell. It's more to do with spending so much effort on a house that you'd want to be confident that you are going to stay there long enough to enjoy it. And while we want to stay in the area, I don't think it's going to be forever.

 

Thanks again for the comments.

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Well, a lot of people with small kids do build of course. But you are right the related point is how you live meantime. The maths of course depends not just on cost but sell-on later and that is imponderable. Some of the other "non-cash costs" can be high - the developer of my apartment deliverd it but had big health problems and grey hair by the end (and had found a lot of his margin eaten up by more work that expected in the interior build phase, that was where he struggled. Basic build, exterior and end was fine)!

 

That last point is interesting, and one I was chewing on last night with a local developer. I sort of have it. I have a perfect new apartment designed just for me in a great location...but I also quite fancy going somewhere else for a while, but that seems absurd when I've gone to the trouble of building something perfect just for me!

 

However, I am sort of thinking of doing it again, this time for rental :) . That's the thing - over time, you forget the bad bits.

 

PS- dengegg's list is fantastic, spot on. Kudos.

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The key I'd say is not to stint on the professionals.

You starting point I think is to do some good hard realistic planning and budgeting.

 

In a nutshell, that's it said and done. Even if you know your way around a building site and can do some stuff yourself you'll be dependent on locals for supplying advice, permissions, materials, labour and so on and you need to have access to advice and labour that you can trust. You need to be able to spot shoddy work and confident enough both as a person and with your German ability to get it fixed, deal with difficult situations and keep the project running. I know several people who have built houses, or had them built to their design, and they all got there eventually, albeit with dramas along the way.

 

As a half-way measure you can also consider pre-fabricated houses that are assembled on site or buying an existing property that needs renovation - it's a relatively trivial matter to take out non-structural walls and you can assert your own influence on your house. Either method gets you pretty close to your own designed place at a fraction of the risk.

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we just moved into our newly built house a few months ago, we saved money by doing a few things ourselves (floor laying and painting). the house is already worth a sizeable sum more than we paid for it.

we purchased the land from a building company who then had the contract to build on the land for us. it's important to research the building company you would plan to use, visit houses they have already built and talk to home owners for whom they've built.

there certainly was more work involved, but it's great to live in a place where we were able to choose everything. our other option was to buy a place cheaply and renovate it, but actually we're glad to have a new place.

you can visit the place in Poing for ideas on newly built houses, if you can afford it I'd stay away from the prefabricated houses they do not seem terribly well built-to-last and won't fetch a good price in the future when you decide to sell.

throughout a house build you can also get the TUV guys to come along and check the workmen's progress that it's all up to standard.

and certainly a command of German is needed to communicate with the foreman and builders.

we have a blog, if you'd like to see it drop me a PM!

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We are going to build a new house in Germany. Someone recommended having an insurance for the construction site (in case a brick falls on a pedestrian e.g.) I wonder if it is the standard liability insurance, or some special one? Thanks!

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When we built our house, we had to get insurance - the company wouldn't start until we had one in place, will check out the details of the insurance and get back to you.

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Thank you very much for the advice!

 

I have another question that maybe somebody can help me with: we want of course to save some money and would like to hire a non-German company for some works. E.g. Floor finishings, walls, tiles etc. We are thinking of taking an Eastern European company that we know. The country they come from is an EU member and everything. Can they legally work in Germany without any extra formalities? Or do they have to register in Germany for tax purposes (e.g. VAT)?

thanks a lot!!

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Isn't this something you should ask them?

 

Any EU company can work anywhere in the EU without restriction, but tax matters (especially VAT) are very complicated and something for them to work out, not the customer. Of course, if you are found to be the primary employer of EU individuals, or under your guidance the contrive with another company to use illegal labour then you can also be held partially responsible. Think also too of any guarantees you may want to call on in the future should you find the work to be substandard.

 

"Saving money" does not always save money.

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Very wise words. A colleague tried to 'save money' by taking a cheaper construction company - latest best guess is he'll move in 9 months late and is 40K euro over budget. Although there are some rip-off merchants around generally good things cost more money for a reason.

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When we built we were adamant that everything was done by a German company, not because we thought it would be superior quality, but because building a house is a costly business as it is, but when you hear all the horror stories about things going wrong, you really want a company that speaks your language, works under the laws of the country you're building in and preferably nearby. Try to find a company that will do all (build the house, tiles it, puts in the floors)

 

We had to get a few minor things fixed up after our house was built, I am so glad we didn't have to go running around trying to contact various foreign companies to sort them out, all it took was one call and the plumbers came within no time to fix the leaky taps, the plasters came, re-did the wall and we got the draught in our living room window dealt with.

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hi

I am a student at Hochschule Bremen, for my master thesis I need some data about the cost construction of an office building and also I need information about the energy price in Germany. 

do you know how can I find these data?

 I have searched on many websites but I could not find any specific data.

 

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1 hour ago, fmousavi said:

hi

I am a student at Hochschule Bremen, for my master thesis I need some data about the cost construction of an office building and also I need information about the energy price in Germany. 

do you know how can I find these data?

 I have searched on many websites but I could not find any specific data.

 

What exactly is the problem?

 

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=baukosten+b%C3%BCrogeb%C3%A4ude&t=ffnt&atb=v204-6__&ia=web

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=energiepreise+Deutschland&t=ffnt&atb=v204-6__&ia=web

 

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And if you have a family the KFW bank are very helpful

https://www.kfw.de/inlandsfoerderung/Privatpersonen/Neubau/index-2.html

 

Basically it takes ages to get approval for your own build.

Your are VERY lucky if you manage to find anywhere to build on, in/around the popular cities.

You need cash/motgage IN PLACE before you can even consider buying the land.

It will consume ALL of your spare time for 2-3 years.

 

But in the end, I think, a lot better than renting.

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